Let’s just say you’re a termed-out California state senator who, through the vagaries of a law that requires a two-thirds majority to pass a budget, became a Playah in the capital. Bocce and cigars with the Celebro-Guv.
Well, if you are of a certain mindset, the thought of returning to good, honest toil as a private citizen is probably the farthest thing from your mind. Instead, you look around to see how you can capitalize off of all those political connections you made cutting deals and grinding the uncomfortable corners off of the truth. You recall fondly when the greasers, lobbyists, and bagmen were kissing your skinny ass and funding your campaigns. Lobbying is a lot more fun than real work. You want to become one!
And so it was when Dick Ackerman left Sacramento; and so it was for anybody willing to put Ackerman on their payroll. After all, who wants to hire a 70-year old, small-time lawyer to draw up wills for grandpa? No one, that’s who. And Nossaman, the big law firm that employed Dick obviously wanted him as a lobbyist, despite the website description that comically claims Ackerman is some sort of legal expert in a wide array of issues.
By nature lobbyists are supposed to remain low-profile, operate in the shadows and behind closed doors. What the partners at Nossaman think about Ackerman’s recent embarrassing high profile behavior is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be too good; and apparently Dick ain’t bringing home much bacon, either, which is the worst offense of all.
But so much for the long preamble. The purpose of Part 2 (and of Part 3) of this squalid tale is to relate some of what Ackerman has been up to lately, and to point out to anybody who cares, the low ethical trajectory of the leader of the anti-recall circus.
Termed out in 2008, Ackerman almost immediately latched on to an opportunity presented by his ethical soul mate, Dave Ellis: the Great OC Fair Swindle of 2009, an attempt to convert select members of the Board of Directors into a non-profit entity that would buy the Orange County Fairgrounds from a cash-strapped State, and run it for their own fun and profit. Ackerman’s role was buried in an obscure land-use contract with a company called LSA, presumably so nobody would know what the hell was going on.
Part of the deal involved slipping the necessary whereases into the state budget in the summer of 2009, and part of Ackerman’s job was to make sure legislators got the job done. But wait a minute, Dick! State legislators have to wait a full year before they can lobby their former colleagues! That’s the law.
When the details of Ackerman’s behavior became public in the fall of 2009, he twisted and turned the very meaning of the English language in order to squirm off the hook on which he had impaled himself. And it would have been in vain, too, except that our sleepy DA had clearly given instructions to his staff to whitewash Ackerman’s role. Not looking for evidence is a great way of not finding any.
It worked for a while, in 2010. Then in early 2011 Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC broke the story: he had copies of Ackerman’s billing invoices, and Ackerman’s scope of work – documents the DA thought unnecessary to collect, and they clearly revealed the truth about Ackerman – lobbying legislators was part of the contract, and The Dickster had made calls to several members of the Legislature, including locals Solorio and Correa. No bueno!
Although the DAs spokestress Susan Schroeder disingenuously invited anybody to submit new evidence for the DAs lethargic consideration, nobody did. And Ackerman slithered away, probably bragging, like John Mitchell to his cronies, that no one had laid a glove on him.
Stay tuned for Part 3, in which we explore carpetbagging for fun and profit!